Detox Pesto

Recipe by Olivia Wagner MS, RDN, IFNCP

Serving Size: 2 Tbsp

Nu·tri·ent See·ker

1. One who actively seeks out functional ingredients
2. A person who chooses food with nutrients to support specific parts of the body or health goals
3. An individual who intentionally eats to nourish their body
4. Anyone who loves eating really good food….that is also really good for their body

Ok, so nutrient seeking is not really in the dictionary, but I believe its a REAL THING

In effort to be a greater Nutrient Seeker amidst the busy work while preparing simple meals I uncovered the power of the mighty pesto. Not only is it a platform to blend nutrient packed ingredients together, but I find it a supportive tool in any therapeutic diet to add energy and any simple meal to add flavor.

I make variations of this pesto with whatever I have on hand, swapping out ingredients and making hundreds of flavorful creations. They are also completely customizable to whatever diet you are following

For example:
Low-FODMAP: omit garlic, use green onion tops or garlic oil
Keto: use macadamia nuts or MCT oil
Autoimmune protocol: omit nuts/seeds- use greens and oil

I often use pesto’s to brighten a meal made of basic roasted vegetables and simple proteins like burger patties, meatballs, broiled salmon, or grilled chicken.

Pesto’s are also perfect as…
· dollops in soups
· flavor enhancers for a simple vinaigrette
· dips for veggies as a snack
· topping for a protein bowl
· crust for slow baked salmon
· vinaigrette or marinade for a salad or fish ( Mix a few tbsp. of pesto into olive oil and lemon juice)
· as a true pesto with vegetables noodles or spaghetti squash.

I also ALWAYS freeze at least half the batch, I like to label and freeze mine in 2-4 oz mason jars. To thaw you can pull them out the night before or you can simple place the mason jar in a mug of warm water for 20-30 minutes while getting your meal together.

Basic Pesto Formula

  • 2-3 cups greens (fresh herbs, beet greens, arugula, carrot tops, spinach)
  • ½ cup high quality olive oil (avocado oil, MCT oil)
  • ½ cup nut or seed (walnuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts OPTIONAL)
  • 1-2 tbsp. or more acid (lemon, lime, orange, apple cider vinegar)
  • 1-2 tbsp. or more aromatics (garlic, ginger, green onion, chive)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  1. Combine greens, sea salt, and aromatics in a food processor.

  2. Process until finely chopped.

  3. Add nuts or seed if using. Process until finely chopped.

  4. Add acid of choice and slowly add oil in a steady drizzle as you continue to pulse the ingredients until pesto comes together and is combined to the consistency you want it. 

  5. Save half for the week and freeze the remaining into ice cube trays or 2-4 oz. mason jars for easy portions to add to dishes later on!

A Few Variations

Detox Pesto
This low-FODMAP/ AIP pesto is a staple in my home. Easy on the belly, but SO full of flavor.

1 part cilantro ( about 1 bunch)
1 part basil ( about 1 8 oz. container)
1 part parsley ( about 1 bunch)
1/2 part watercress or beet greens ( optional, but amazing for liver support!)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 heaping tsp of celtic sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Parsley Pesto
This pesto is awesome with lamb meatballs or along side a whole roasted chicken.

2 cups loosely packed parsley leaves or other herb of choice
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Basil Walnut Pesto
Perfect for zucchini noodles or crusting salmon!

2 cups loosely packed basil
½ cup raw walnuts or hemp seeds
1-2 medium gloves garlic
1/4 cup flax oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt


I love the Vitamix, but for quick and smaller pesto/ sauce experiments I like to use my travel blender. Check out my favorite quick blender here.

Happy Nutrient Seeking!

Olivia Wagner

Hi! I’m Olivia and I am a functionally focused and Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). I study the science of food and how it interacts with every cell in your body. Let's work together!

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